Exercises in Science
..............Jack Kimball.............

Using Transitions


transition : a word or phrase that connects one idea to another

frequent / frequently : happening at points in time that appear quite often

high frequency waves : energy that occurs at points (or intervals) that appear quite often, such as radio waves, microwaves, etc.

effect/result : a development, a consequence, an end

illustration : an explanation or "picture" in words, an example

to contrast : to show differences

to summarize : to state the main point or points, to conclude

laboratory : a building or room for scientific research

microwaves : energy that travels in high frequency waves

substance / matter : mass in the form of solid, liquid or gas

school subject : a general area of study, like biology, physics, English, etc.

course/class (in education): a group of students who meet to study the same school subject


A well-written paragraph reads smoothly and easily. One way to make a paragraph easier to read is to use words and phrases that let the ideas flow from one sentence to the next. We call these words and phrases "transitions."
Transitions are like traffic signs ("STOP," "TURN LEFT") that direct a reader's attention. Here is an example. The phrase "in addition" appears frequently in English because these words are a sign that one idea will be added to another. In writing about science we use many signs or transitions in order 1) to add information; 2) to show effect or result; 3) to give an example; 4) to contrast ideas; and 5) to summarize ideas, etc.

To Add Information

Transitions that add information:

and furthermore, 
also/too additionally,
as well in addition, 

Here are some examples.

(a) A pond is a body of fresh water. Also,most lakes are freshwater.

(b) The energy of river water can be used to produce electricity. Furthermore, the wind's energy can be converted to electricity.

To Show an Effect or Result

Transitions that indicate an effect or result:

so consequently,
thus, as a consequence,
therefore, as a result,

(a) Oxygen has only a small number of electrons and protons, so it is a light element.

(b) Photosynthesis is a process in which plants feed themselves and grow. As a consequence,it is an essential process.

(c) The moon has no atmosphere.Therefore, it has no animal or plant life.

To Give an Example

Examples connect one idea to a fact or illustration. Transitions:

for example, to illustrate,
one/an example for instance,

(a) We use microprocessors in our everyday lives.To illustrate, micro- processors help us drive our cars, run our TVs, and cook our meals.

(b) There are many courses on science at the university. For instance, there are courses on biology, physics, engineering and chemistry.

To Contrast Ideas

When we want to indicate that one idea is opposite another, we use these transitions.

but yet
though....., however,
although...., nonetheless,
even though...., on the other hand,

(a) The cost of solar batteries is very high. On the other hand,the sun is a free source of energy.

(b) Even though tropical rain forests provide us with valuable products, many of these forests are being destroyed.

(c) The atmosphere of Venus is similar to that of Earth. Nonetheless,the dry surface of Venus is completely different from that of Earth.

To Summarize Ideas

These transitions indicate that a paragraph or essay is about to reach a conclusion.

in sum, in conclusion,
in brief, in summary,
in short, to summarize,

(a) In short,the cerebrum is the brain part that controls thinking.

(b) To summarize, an amoeba has only one cell, but carries out a full cycle of life functions.

Exercise 1
For A and B, rearrange the following sentences (1, 2, 3, 4) so that they form logical paragraphs. Then, rewrite the paragraphs in the correct order. Underline words and phrases that are transitions.

__ (a) On the other hand, in the convection process, heat moves freely.
__ (b) In sum, the ways that heat travels are quite varied.
__ (c) In the radiation and conduction processes, for instance, heat moves in one particular direction.
__ (d) The ways heat travels from one place to another may be classified in three categories: the process of radiation, the process of conduction, and the process of convection.


__ (a) On the other hand, mathematics is usually a non-laboratory course.
__ (b) Chemistry is a laboratory course as well.
__ (c) Even though there are many kinds of college courses, basic science classes can be divided into two groups: laboratory courses and non-laboratory courses.
__ (d) An example of a laboratory course is biology.

Exercise 2
Read the following paragraph and choose the correct transitions.

A microwave is a form of energy that travels in high frequency waves. (Although/In short) we cannot see microwaves, we can easily observe how they affect objects. (On the other hand/For instance) microwaves penetrate food in microwave ovens. (As a result/In addition), the food is cooked. Microwaves are used in both radar and telecommunications (as well/however). (To summarize,/Yet) microwaves are a part of modern life.

Exercise 3
Connect the following ideas by writing one or two sentences for a, b, c and d (below). Be sure to use transitions.

(a) There are more and more cars producing exhaust. Acid rain is increasing.
(b) Solids are matter. Liquids and gasses are matter.

(c) Dogs, wolves and foxes are canines. Humans are not canines.
(d) Digital watches, video cameras, fax machines, and lap top computers are electronics. Electronics are part of our daily lives.


Writing Exercise

Write a paragraph in which you classify the general school subjects you like, subjects you have studied or are now studying in school (for example, chemistry, English, and so forth). Then describe one or two courses, giving details about what you have learned in class. (SUGGESTION: You can begin to classify subjects by dividing them into science subjects, foreign-language subjects, etc.) Use transitions to add information, to show effect or result, to give an example, etc.